SIGNAL TO NOISE article published
SIGNAL TO NOISE calls itself “The Journal of Improvised, Experimental and Unusual Music”. I’ve now seen a copy of the latest issue (#63; Spring 2012), just published. It includes a major article by William Gibson about new music on Nonesuch about half of which is devoted, in some detail, to a remarkable shout-out for The Nude Paper Sermon. (see also my last post below). This is especially timely because the original Nonesuch recording is about to be reissued by Labor Records (and distributed by Naxos) in a boxed set together with the four pieces that make up my old Finnadar album Wiretap. The magazine is distributed by Barnes & Noble, the Downtown Music Gallery in NYC and many stores around the country. You can find a full list on their web site <signaltonoisemagazine.org> or by e-mailing them at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Or you can just send $10 to SIGNAL TO NOISE, 1128 Waverly Street, Houston, Texas 77008.
William Gibson Article on The Nude Paper Sermon in Signal to Noise Magazine
The Spring 2012, issue of Signal to Noise magazine has an article by William Gibson on the Nonesuch contemporary music recordings of the 1970s that is, in fact, mostly about The Nude Paper Sermon. This was the second Nonesuch commission (after Mort Subotnik’s Silver Apples of the Moon). It was written for the Nonesuch Consort, an early-music ensemble of voices and renaissance instruments (founded and directed by Joshua Rifkin), to which has been added an actor (Stacy Keach), a chorus (the N.Y. Motet Singers) and electronic sounds (Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Studio). It was one of the first works of contemporary music to be written for recordings, making original and creative use of the then-new multi-track recording technique to craft a multi-media or music-theater work in sound. This was also some of the first new music to be written for Renaissance instruments in half a millenium! The recording uses the illusion of depth produced by stereo to produce the effect of listening through the surface of the loudspeakers (defined by aural graffiti in the form of electronic sounds) to some distant, mythical golden age. Also close to the surface is the voice of Stacy Keach who is, in turn, a preacher, a politician, an evangelist, a new-age guru–in short, an amalgamation of all those bloviators who use language to control others. The actor’s text was created especially for this work by poet Steven Wade (Wade Stevenson), not as a parody, but as a prose poem about contemporary life; these words are scored with accents, rhythms, tempi and dynamics as they rise above and are submerged by the musical textures. The sung texts are John Ashbery’s Three Madrigals which he had coincidentally sent me just at the time that I was thinking about this work.
The Nude Paper Sermon is scheduled to be re-released by Labor Records in conjunction with Naxos this summer. More on this shortly.